Urban Prep, a Chicago charter high school, tries to teach students — nearly all black boys growing up without a father — how to be “real men,” reports the Chicago Tribune. That means gentlemen and scholars, not gangstas.
“It was very important, when we started Urban Prep, to get the culture right, to create a strong, positive sense of community within the school,” said Tim King, 39, who founded the academy with a group of African-American leaders in education, business and civics.
King formerly ran a Catholic school for black boys on Chicago’s South Side.
D’Angelo Gardner, 15, whose father died of a heroin overdose, started the year with a perpetual scowl. He was prepared to fight.
“I knew I couldn’t teach him how to be a man,” (mother Angela Russell) said. “That was my whole point of sending him to Urban Prep, so that they could show my son what real men do: They get up, they go to work — not what you see on the videos or the corner.”
Though it’s a public school, Urban Prep sounds like New York’s private George Jackson Academy, founded by a former Catholic school principal, to serve black and Hispanic boys. These schools are trying to create a schoolwide culture that supports achievement.